Training Coyotes and Dogs, by Walkaboutlou

Hi Janet. 

We have started patrols on quail ranch and it’s been very productive so far. This is a new venture and we’re very hopeful .

A retired biologist purchased an enormous sheep ranch and transformed it to a quail ranch of sorts and Bird Dog Center. 

Sheep out. Quail in. Both native and introduced quail call this home. It wasn’t easy. Raccoon, possums, and an enormous feral cat population as well as rats, hindered quail nesting in some sections.

Then coyote came in.

Attracted to now natural grasslands, several coyote packs established themselves.

And quail number exploded.

The coyote keep racoon, possum and rat numbers very low. The feral cats are gone. And the coyote don’t seem to hardly interact with quail much. 

With quail numbers steady, now Bird Dogs are being trained here, as well as limited hunts will be allowed.

Some coyote challenge dogs. And this isnt what clients want or expect. 

Back to drawing board.

The biologist knew, and with several discussions with locals confirmed, if you hunt territorial local coyote they will immediately be replaced by nomadic coyote and your issues will likely increase. These coyote keep out other coyote. And quail benefit from their hunting. They are wanted…but can’t also harass bird dogs.

It’s tenuous. And needs reinforcing both sides. But coyote and dogs can live and work and share ranges. This pack lives and works among coyote weekly. And both sides are fine.

This is where we come in. 

This pack of mostly older dogs have patrolled vast properties many years. We engage and teach coyote..back up. Don’t come in. Yes..its tough love, but also natural. Wolves, coyote and Range Dogs all coexist out here. And all usually dislike each other. What I can do here is teach coyote to use the land to their advantage. And timing.

The hills and woods and treelines of this 4,000 acre ranch..can be for coyote. The open fields, the dogs flushing quail in Fall, are to be avoided. 

We travel throughout the property sticking to trails and fields. When coyote approach, the pack is more then ready to counter. But we remain together. And the coyote inevitably (and vocally) retire to woods and hills. They are learning not to rush dogs, and clients are instructed what areas the bird dogs are allowed to train and hunt in..and what is risky. 

Can coyote and bird dogs coexist? Yes. With instructions and non lethal (but sometimes rough) behavioural influences on both sides. Coyote absolutely can learn to stick to hills and woods. And bird dogs can stick to birds. Our pack introduces the idea to coyote that dog packs move through but go and DONT EVEN COME IN TO US. DONT ENGAGE THESE GUYS. They have thousands of acres to choose from.

We just encourage wise choices. And they almost inevitably do.

We will be busy this next few weeks. But its working.

Take care, 

Lou

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MelindaH
    Aug 19, 2022 @ 14:38:13

    Fascinating training…thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  2. James B. Mense
    Aug 19, 2022 @ 14:39:46

    Just wondered what yur thoughts are about the coyote attacking the ultra-runner in California. It made national news.

    Reply

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Aug 19, 2022 @ 15:37:04

      Hi James —

      The response to the ultramarathoner “attack” report by many who fear coyotes has been that, “it’s time to cull the coyotes here in SF.” I wish people understood that the number of coyotes has nothing to do with the marathoner’s situation. The “encounter” occurred on the Marin side of the bridge, for one thing. If there was only this one coyote in all the world, such an encounter could have happened. The little truth we’ve found in the story is likely due to feeding coyotes. What apparently could have attracted a coyote — if indeed he was attracted — is the crackling of the power bar wrapper. The reported event occurred in an area where feeding of coyotes is rampant. Before people feed coyotes they take the food out of it’s mostly crackling wrapper — imagine a potato chip bag or even a McDonald’s burger bag — and then feed the coyote. Think of Pavlov. Everytime the coyote with this training hears that noise, he’s been getting food from willing feeders. Now, possibly, the coyote hears that sound and approaches. I know a NatGeo photographer who learned this: he could instantly get an animal’s attention by crackling a potato chip bag — something I adamantly discouraged. This is a scenario that could have occurred.

      Coyotes who are fed regularly by someone also often display “demand” behavior: they become demanding when the food isn’t forthcoming quickly — it’s a very unusual behavior displayed by a very few coyotes who have been hand fed. By the way, this man was running, he was not on a bike, the bleeding on his face was from a fall, not a bite, as originally posted — he was not bitten. As far as I have read, he wasn’t attacked at all, but rather bumped — and I even question this — as the coyote went for the food he had been trained to expect. Three AM is when coyotes are normally out and active.

      It’s important to note that Karnazes’ extreme initial report, and his revised report — he revised his story when he was questioned by people who know coyote behavior — depicts coyote behavior that is totally out of the ordinary, extraordinarily so. I doubt if the coyote ever even touched him. He tripped and fell and bloodied himself doing so, then he posted this bloody picture of himself saying he was attacked. He was probably scared, and scared people often fill in details to justify and explain their fears. Also, I wonder if he might have perhaps posted the exaggerated story facetiously, just to add some spice to his running, and not known how seriously everyone would take him. I say this because he himself, apparently, was surprised at the media coverage the incident garnered, and then changed the story, but I wonder if it’s still beyond the limits of the truth??

      https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/coyote-experts-respond-to-karnazes-attack-17379330.php In the end, was this actually an “attack” on a human? Or might the whole report and sensationalism thereby engendered, be construed as an attack on coyotes? Food for thought.

      If you have questions, shoot them my way! Janet

  3. James B. Mense
    Aug 19, 2022 @ 14:45:09

    I am surprised that the coyotes chase the bird dogs. I have hunted quail with dogs in Oklahoma which has a large coyote population and never once did I have a coyote interfere.

    Reply

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Aug 23, 2022 @ 00:47:59

      Hi Janet,
      One of your readers said he had never heard of coyote chasing or attacking bird dogs. At least in his region which was Oklahoma. He must have some very meek coyote regionally..which is plausible.

      I have known coyote in different areas..and they truly do differ in some behaviors.

      I wanted to share with you why these coyote or some of them, engage dogs.

      They have been hunted, harassed and killed and scattered by Decoy Dogs and Coyote Hunters for about 8 years now. The survivors remember forever the sound of dogs and guns and they are triggered into both flight and fight responses. They are territorial so seem impelled to “guard” and also protect family.

      Most of these coyote have been shot at and seen mates or pups killed by Decoy Doggers. I believe it makes a profound impact on them. They cannot know they are on a quail ranch and these dogs only are here for birds. But they can “relearn” distances and that the hills are theirs.
      It’s just an example of how different local coyote can become..due to human influence.

      What I am trying also to convey and help others realize is..Coyote differ as much as we do.

      They are SO SIMILAR IN VARIETY TO HUMANS!

      There are coyote so shy and wild they never would engage humans or dogs. There are coyote that actively engage dogs and have no qualms about raiding livestock if humans aren’t savvy.

      There are coyote that are diminutive and live off rodents and fruit and occasional rabbit.

      There are coyote that have dog and wolf genetics and are large and hunt deer that are compromised or weak.

      There are coyote that are loners or just are with mate. There are coyote that regularly pack up.

      There are coyote influenced by humans who then exhibit a vast array of behaviours we usually don’t like…but we are the source.

      Every region of North and South America has coyote..that have common themes yet can vastly be different genetically, behaviorally, and yes…culturally.

      I hope this can become a shared knowledge. Coyote locally can vary as much as humans.

      There are coyote living on junk food.

      There are coyote living on berries and salmon and wild plants.

      There are coyote living off wolf kills and wolf packs they follow…(very high risk)

      So many behaviors. All regionally influenced.
      Lou

  4. Jo Thompson
    Aug 22, 2022 @ 12:52:55

    Thank you for this good information!

    Reply

  5. Dr. James B. Mense
    Aug 23, 2022 @ 14:33:20

    My experiences with coyotes and bird dogs in Oklahoma was typical. It was also 30 or more years ago at a time when coyotes were hunted and shot on sight and certainly not habituated by being fed!
    There are now probably homes in many of those area with city people who treat wild animals as pets. Hunting is reduced or eliminated because permission becomes increasingly difficult or impossible to obtain. Times change and animals adapt, eliminating some problems but creating new ones!
    The one thing that has not changed is the creeping encroachment on wild animal habitat by the ever increasing human population.

    Reply

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